I had the saw out the other day and figured I might as well get started on another project I've been working toward for some time...  I'm a big fan of the American Flyer Union Station, and always wanted to incorporate one on the layout in some way.

Long story short, I decided it would be fun to bash a group of them into a tall art deco structure.  I'd also like the "focal point" tall buildings in my downtown to be unique, and this seemed a good way to go about it without having to scratch build:

I started with 4 Union Station buildings in various states of disrepair (two are the talking kind, two are regular):

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First step was to gut them, and remove the braces.  I also removed the floor from the 3 in the worst shape, then popped them apart so I could cut them in half with a miter saw:

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After some sawing , sanding, and gluing, here's the first mock-up of the building with 3 stations made into half-length floors.  Height of this structure as built below is ~35":

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I grabbed a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood remaining from a scout project; this board will be cut up to become the missing side of the building.

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I was originally going to have the plain board/wall be on the left side of the structure (see two pics up), pushed against another building.  However, such a set-up puts the windows out of alignment and looks less... complete.   I like this look better:

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...but that leaves a big open side here and means I can't set it next to another building to hide it:

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To address the open side, and keep the flat windowless piece from looking out of place, I decided to dress it up to replicate the design of the entrance piece with a layered look:

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Here is the building laying on its side [tilt head 90 degree left to see it vertical ].   I think I did a pretty good job making the solid piece architecturally consistent and art deco-ish in this test fitting:

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Since I have the main body of the building roughly planned out and cut, I am starting work on the "zeppelin mooring tower" that will go atop the building.  For the base of this tower, I took 2 of the entryway pieces, cut them roughly in half, and glued them together:

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Atop the base of the tower (above) will be a mast (probably square).  I plan to use these deco pieces (from an HO overpass kit) as the base of the mast & will see what pieces fit together best from there:

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More to come!  Once I have all mast and roof pieces cut, I plan to start gluing major sections of the building together...

 

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Last edited by frizzinbee
Original Post

You're just banging them out one after another!  Can't wait for them to be doneand on the layout so we can see them in Tall Buildings Tuesday.

coach joe posted:

You're just banging them out one after another!  Can't wait for them to be doneand on the layout so we can see them in Tall Buildings Tuesday.

Lol, me neither!   Would love to have these done so I can see them all downtown... but building them is the fun and stress relief for me - so I suppose that's goodness too.

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I made a little but of progress on this building here and there.   Not a huge difference in appearance, but I've built major parts of the assembly, reinforced the structure, and thought through most of the mechanics of how it will be painted and built.   This one is a little more complicated since, due to it's size, I'll have to paint it before it's fully and finally assembled.  I'll also have to wire it in modules that plug together at the very end.

In this first picture, I'm testing the look and fit of the upper tower.  It may be too tall... but I will hold off cutting it for now while I decide what the rest of the zeppelin dock will look like.

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I glued all the sections of the tower together (using the stacked half-stations), reinforcing the joints with strips of basswood and providing additional rigidity overall with some square dowels across the back.

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Here's what the inside looks like with reinforcement.  In the top of the photo, you can see where I plugged the back of a wiring slot with a smaller piece of wood (so I can fill it from the outside and sand flush).

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Next, I added a strip of basswood vertically on each side - and built up the middle of each support piece so that it matches the height the sides.

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This edging and matching center support will allow me to attach and fully seat the side wall of the tower after painting and lighting.

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Here's a few mock-ups I just did tonight.  Trying to get a feel for the overall look of the building so I can see where I want to go with that tower ...and what color I want to paint this thing.  Something along the lines of tan or off white is probably where I'm headed.

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Next is more work on the zeppelin dock to finalize the shape and cut out the components.   In parallel to that, I'll do some sanding/cleaning and then begin painting the major components.   The wood section will get a cost of clear water-based poly before it's painted to try and hide that wood grain.

 

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WOW what great work Dustin! Your skills never stop to amaze me! I cant wait to see the finished product!

All I can say is WOW!  You have quite a creative mind my friend, can't wait to see the finished product!!

 

Well, I've been silent on this topic for a while...  but as the summer fun winds down and train season winds up, I have some progress to report.   No pics of the process, but the building is now painted.   I went with colors that were close to the original American Flyer tones as it seemed most fitting.

Recently, I installed windows and shades in the building.   While almost all of my buildings have transparent or roscolux windows, I went translucent here since this building will be in the back & the interior is pretty rough looking.  Window shades are masking tape...  there are so many windows that I went with what was easy.  Here I set the building tower under the basement light so see how it will look lit: 

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I also worked on the doors for the entrance.   Went translucent here too, but used pinstriping tape in the inside to give the doors a little more detail:

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Here you can see the pinstripe tape better, plus the installation of the light strip for the entrance:

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Also started installation of the lights for other parts of the building.  Letting the glue dry (I don't trust just the sticky tape), then I will starting wiring it all together:

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Here's how the upper portion of the tower came out.  I did ended-up making it a zeppelin mooring mast as planned (Pennsy zeppelin to come as a future project).  The overall building was a bit too tall, so I cut down the beige part of the tower a bit.  The platform shown here is, of course, where the airship docks.   Hard to see in the picture, but I have LEDs installed to facing upward to light the tower.   The station name ("Strato") seemed appropriate to airship transport   Most of the tower is just wooden dowels and discs.  The door on the platform came from a P-ville mobile home, while gold rod at the very apex is a lego piece that I ….um... liberated from the kids:

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Next up is continued work on the lighting/wiring, then final assembly of the structure!

 

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Nice work Dustin! It is really going to look sharp once all together and on your layout! Thanks for showing ans sharing the pictures of the inside! I cant wait to see your next update!

mike g. posted:

Nice work Dustin! It is really going to look sharp once all together and on your layout! Thanks for showing ans sharing the pictures of the inside! I cant wait to see your next update!

Thanks Mike!   It's coming together slowly but surely & I'm looking forward to adding this completed building to the skyline

Here's the latest:  I've completed wiring and testing the building roof & mooring mast.   Ready to install on the top of the building & wire everything together...

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Done with the building itself, here's pictures of the finished product.   Next step is to build the zeppelin to go with it...

 

Here is the completed building on the workbench, checking out the lights:

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I added an American flag atop the entrance:

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So the building itself is done, but this particular building has an airship mooring mast at the top - and that means a passenger airship is needed for that full "art deco metropolis" effect!   The plan here is to kit-bash an N-scale Graf Zeppelin into a small-ish O-scale airship, complete with gondola and running lights.  I say "small-ish" since a full O-scale Graf Zeppelin would be the full length of my layout, and that seems a bit unfeasible... but a "commuter" airship should work fine, even it'll be a fairly involved build.

The airship will be suspended from the ceiling here, as if it is approaching the "Flyscraper":

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Here is the Zeppelin kit I'm using.   This puppy clocks in at around 39":

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...and here is the 1:48 B-25 kit that has volunteered itself as tribute.   I plan to use the fuselage (or most of it), as well as the engines and nacelles.   The rest of it I'll make up as I go:

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After much experimenting and sawing (and Dremel-ing), here's where I currently stand.   This fuselage will form the basis of the gondola on the underside of the airship.   In the pic below, left side is the front & right side is the rear.   Engine nacelles are rear facing so that the propellers will be pushers.  I plan to use some of the B-25 cockpit and tail windows, but will also make some more passenger-ish features with styrene:

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Hi Dustin, great project! But let me ask you this, with such a great build your tying this into are you going to put in turning propellers? Such as small motors?

Dustin:

Your project offers some insights that I will apply to my current work-in-progress: a toy Christmas blimp with lights and a spinning propeller. The blimp will be attached by a line to a rotating support rod installed through the full height of a model of the Eiffel Tower. The rotation will be done by a "dance hall glitter ball" motor hidden under the layout platform and controlled by a toggle switch.  As the blimp circles the tower, it will also rise and fall by a line-and-pulley system designed by a local machinist.

Although not a true-to-scale structure, it will be fun for my great-grandsons and their friends to enjoy when visiting Mottler Station. I hope to have it ready for use at Christmastime.

Mike Mottler       LCCA 12394

Mike H Mottler posted:

Dustin:

Your project offers some insights that I will apply to my current work-in-progress: a toy Christmas blimp with lights and a spinning propeller. The blimp will be attached by a line to a rotating support rod installed through the full height of a model of the Eiffel Tower. The rotation will be done by a "dance hall glitter ball" motor hidden under the layout platform and controlled by a toggle switch.  As the blimp circles the tower, it will also rise and fall by a line-and-pulley system designed by a local machinist.

Although not a true-to-scale structure, it will be fun for my great-grandsons and their friends to enjoy when visiting Mottler Station. I hope to have it ready for use at Christmastime.

Mike Mottler       LCCA 12394

Mike, that sounds like a cool project!   Mine wont be moving at all, so I'm impressed by the level of complexity and automation you'll be able to achieve.

mike g. posted:

Hi Dustin, great project! But let me ask you this, with such a great build your tying this into are you going to put in turning propellers? Such as small motors?

Mike,

I thought about it, but decided not to mess with it.  Having to plan for fitting/mounting motors in the nacelles, and getting them to look/operate correctly, didn't seem like a lot of fun to me... and didn't go with my "make it up as you go" approach for this one.  I do actually have a couple such motors and propellers already - but my plan for those is to see if I can make a propeller powered train car at some point in the future.

If someone was interested in doing such a thing, though, it seems as though the B-25 nacelles would be conducive to it.   They are hollow inside, mount to a hollow wing, and have separately applied cowlings/props:

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-Dustin

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More progress on the zeppelin, finally!

I had taken a strategic pause for a bit to consider how best to complete the gondola underneath.   In particular, I wasn't sure how to handle the endcaps outside the nacelles nor the passenger windows.

After much ado, and some experimenting, I settled on a delta shape for the nacelle "winglets" - and I plan to replicate this delta on the zeppelin's paint livery.   The winglets are made from styrene & are intended to be both a bit trekkie and retro-furturistic.

I also affixed styrene to the sides of the fuselage, giving me a clean/flat surface as a starting point.  The cutout in on the bottom corner of each side piece mirrors the curve of the engine nacelle. I drilled out circular windows, and used washers to make the windows look more uniform and "finished":

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Here I used modelling putty to fill in the cracks/gaps, as well s some clear plastic to cover the landing gear holes in the nacelles.

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In the pic above, and in the image below, you can see the holes I've drilled out for mounting of LEDs.  These zeppelin fins will have navigational markers installed, akin to modern aircraft.

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Next up is some light sanding, following by silver paint on both the gondola and the airframe.

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Dustin, its really coming together! I really like how your thinking out side of the box! I look forward to see your next update!

Interesting project. It actually depicts two unrealized dreams.

One of them is probably your inspiration, namely docking zeppelins on top of the Empire State Building. The other is the Larkin Building, which was planned for New York City, but never built. If it had been, it would have rivaled the Empire State Building, and the MacGraw Hill building would be an unrealized dream. 

As for what might have been, all we have to go on is artists' renderings, but your building looks a lot like it.

Can't wait to see what it looks like with the zeppelin. Are you going to have a beacon on top of the mooring mast?

I wonder how I missed this topic.  Great, imaginative work, Dustin!  And adding a Zeppelin also!  Wow!  You are doing a wonderful job!

I'm like Mark and can't believe that I missed this amazing build so far.

Dustin, you are a Master Craftsman 

Dustin, wonderful project; thanks for the write-up and photos.

QUESTION:  What "PUTTY" are you using?

Pingman posted:

Dustin, wonderful project; thanks for the write-up and photos.

QUESTION:  What "PUTTY" are you using?

Carl,

I'm trying out the "prefect plastic putty", made by Deluxe Materials.   It had good reviews on Amazon & I've been pleased so far.  It comes with a regular cap and an additional applicator tip (though, full disclosure, it seems easier to take it it straight from the tube and spread it myself)

 

 

Trainman2 posted:

Interesting project. It actually depicts two unrealized dreams.

One of them is probably your inspiration, namely docking zeppelins on top of the Empire State Building. The other is the Larkin Building, which was planned for New York City, but never built. If it had been, it would have rivaled the Empire State Building, and the MacGraw Hill building would be an unrealized dream. 

As for what might have been, all we have to go on is artists' renderings, but your building looks a lot like it.

Can't wait to see what it looks like with the zeppelin. Are you going to have a beacon on top of the mooring mast?

Yeah, I definitely stole the idea from the Empire State Building & modeled the mast (loosely) on how that one is constructed.   I don't have a beacon at the very top of the mooring mast (the very top actually extends into the floor joists above my basement), but I did use LED spotlights and LED strips to ensure the mast is lit and visible.

Made some more progress on the Zeppelin over the weekend...

In the first picture below, I painted the main body "aluminum", then (after it dried) taped over random sections and painted over everything with "silver".  The intent here was to give the airship some variation in the skin color for a "constructed" look - allowing different sections of skin to glint differently in the splendor of basement lighting.   The results are in the second picture below:

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I also glued small LEDs in place in the airship fins w/goop (man, goop is the bets stuff ever!).   I installed maker lights on three fins as discussed in an earlier post (green to starboard, red to port, and blinking white center)

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The main body of the gondola in silver

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I used a set of GG-1 decals to detail the body of the airship and the gondola.  Some red letter decals I had on hand proved useful for the name.   ...I debated on what to call this thing, and was actively cutting out letters to name it "Astra" when I changed my mind.    "Jupiter" has the advantage of sounding big, sounding like it belongs to a group of ships, and providing another pop culture reference on the layout.  So "Jupiter" it is!

 Behold below the lustrous Loewy-like livery of the PRR's second Planet Class Regional Airship - The 156 ft  Jupiter:

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Last edited by frizzinbee

I want my jetpack! 

I was "scanning" text more than reading, because this was awesome enough when I thought it was a going to be a plain old airship.  As a space transport.... "Oh, the humanity"..... You're "Admiral Frizzinbee" now ... 

There is a Jupiter II and fiber optic kits (mine) and an "operating" Goodyear blimp model in the basement I've been trying to finagle from a pal for a few years. Maybe, just maybe. 😈    I also have a flashgordon/"Silverfish" insipired porthole equipped rocket 🚀on rails.

Dustin, Great work! I like how you use different products from different hobbies! But the big question is how are you going to mount it to the top of the building?

Just getting caught up on this thread. The modeling work on the building is fantastic, very creative.  

mike g. posted:

Dustin, Great work! I like how you use different products from different hobbies! But the big question is how are you going to mount it to the top of the building?

I plan to suspend the zeppelin from the ceiling with fishing line as if it's on final approach to the tower - or as if it was just released (The wire for power will also be strung through the top of the ship & then run along the ceiling and behind the backdrop).  In my mind, the people would disembark from a ramp near the forward section of the main airship body onto the circular platform near the top of the tower - as was planned for the Empire State Bldg.  

Thanks again for compliments, all!   This is a fun one to build - a little different than the usual buildings/track/trees/roads layout stuff  and a nice change of pace

So, limited progress on the Zep since I've been splitting my time between multiple projects (both train and non-train), work, impromptu homeschooling, and learning to cut my own hair!  

However, I have been continuing work to finish-up the gondola...  and by that, I mean figuring out how to use/cut the B-25 windows to make cockpits and viewing portals for the Zep & decent looking "ends" of the gondola.  I think I have it all figured out.

Below you can see the tail window installed, fashioned from about half of the tail gunner's greenhouse window and a small piece of styrene:

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...and here are the other pieces of cockpit and turret glass I'll be using:

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More to come soon!

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Very imaginative!  I'm sure it will moor on the Empire State Building well and not meet the fate of the Hindenberg!!   

More progress on the Zep!   

First, the side fins are installed and the main body is ready to come together:

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Next, the gondola is complete minus passenger window glass and propeller blades.  Window glass should go in tonight , time permitting:

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prop mounts ready, and they actually turn (manually):

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inside view.   I mounted the light strip to the floor so as to make it less visible from below:

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windshields and observation "bubble".   I'm not great at painting lines, but should be minimally noticeable from a couple feet away:

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Made a little more progress late last night on the Zep...

First, I used some pre-fab window blinds to add windows and coverings inside the passenger compartment.   I settled on pull-down shades:

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From the top view, you can see the pull down shades were affixed with thin double-sided tape.  This stuff is fantastic for nice, clean window installs in vehicles and passenger cars:

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Here is the Zep fully wired, for testing, but not yet glued together.  Good news - all the lights work!

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port and starboard fin lights:

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Assembled on its side:

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Looking at the "bottom" of the Zep (that red light is a slow flasher):

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...and via image rotation, here is how it looks so far right-side up:

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...and, just for laughs, how it would look with clouds in place of benches and boxes:

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I have more detail pieces to add to the underside & some finish work to do - but Jupiter is almost done!

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